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Readers’ Letters: The Russia and Ukraine conflict, split on Aberdeen FC stadium, and squabbling over Scottish independence

Readers have their say on the ongoing Scottish independence debate
Readers have their say on the ongoing Scottish independence debate

Sir, – Recovery of the city of Kherson is a major triumph for Ukraine and a setback for Russia.

For some time, Ukraine has been slowly gaining the upper hand in the south leading Vladimir Putin to appoint General Surovikin, responsible for the barrel-bombing of Syrian cities, as his commander-in-chief.

Tactics have become increasingly nasty with missile strikes on civilian housing and now infrastructure like electricity and water.

Many of those contravene the accepted norms of warfare and constitute war crimes.

Ukraine is rapidly running out of tanks, ammunition and heavy artillery but, particularly, air defence systems to combat enemy missiles and drones.

Economic and military support has varied widely among Nato’s European allies. The UK is contributing all the money and weapons it can.

Germany, Europe’s largest economy, promises much but delivers relatively little.

France, Italy and Germany are all giving less than 0.1% of their separate GDPs whereas little Latvia gives 0.8%.

President Putin is playing a long game hoping that the expense will cause support among the Nato allies to crumble.

But the war is not just a struggle for Ukraine’s freedom but a proxy for the conflict between democracy and dictatorship.

We let Putin prevail at our peril.

Dr Walter J MacCulloch. Causewayend Crescent, Aberchirder.

Repay Dons for all their support

Sir-, Regarding the ongoing saga related to the proposed new AFC stadium at the beach being funded by public cash can I remind opposers that the local authority indicated it would contribute some of the £150m cash for the city centre and beach masterplan towards the arena.

We must not forget that over the past 119 years, AFC have returned a considerable amount of money in business tax and rates thus helping the council to balance the books.

Also AFC employ staff who pay their taxes to the council, the club supports local businesses who all pay taxes.

Worth a mention that the invaluable community support work being carried out by the club comes at no cost to the public purse.

In my opinion a little give and take by ACC wouldn’t go amiss.

WW, Stonehaven.

AFC need to shell out

Sir-, In reply to Mr Cormack, Aberdeen Football Club Chairman, since he would like his club to remain in the same area, he can certainly do that by simply doing up what they already have and save a lot of cash in doing so.

The council needs to concentrate on urgent matters such as Union Street, also help the smaller shops to reopen in it and then reinstate our once beautiful Silver City for everyone to enjoy.

I applaud and am extremely delighted that the public’s money is not going towards helping a private club.

Grannie Annie.

Aberdeen FC’s proposed beach stadium has split opinion.Image: Morrison Communications 

Talking has to be better than war

Sir, – The immediate response to the missile strike on Polish soil with breaking news alerts such as “Russian missile lands in Nato member Poland in an escalation of the conflict” brought shudders of dread in countries worldwide.

Thankfully when rational thinking was required the experienced head of President Biden urged caution until all the facts were known.

Knee-jerk responses could trigger nuclear annihilation. Vlad is bad but not mad and is well aware real nuclear war games would result only in losers.

His desire was to return Ukraine to Russian control as in the days of his beloved USSR not conquer the world, a task even he knows is beyond the mightiest leader.

He of course is the root of the problem, pursuing his increasingly futile attempt to annex a neighbour, so that when missiles fill the skies those intended for defence sometimes veer off course with, as in this case, tragic consequences.

World leaders must realise words not weapons will end the warfare; heed the words of Churchill “to jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war”, there will be no military victory in this needless conflict.

Ivan W Reid. Kirkburn, Laurencekirk.

Painting fearful picture of future

Sir, – I take due cognizance of the comments of Messrs Lakin and Mitchell (Letters November 21) and would respond as follows.

Mr Lakin tells us the Scottish Government is not being forthright. Would that be something akin to the UK Government’s burying of The McCrone Report for 30 years? Much of the content of same is applicable to today’s Scotland.

To Mr Mitchell: Would an independent Scotland start with a debt ratio of, approaching, 98% of GDP?

Both seem selective in historical fact. Let’s take The Republic of Ireland which, starting from a very dire situation, just over 100 years ago, is now a modern powerhouse.

They used the pound for a lengthy period, before moving to the Irish punt, which was pegged to sterling, then finally the euro.

Freedom of movement and trade with the UK was retained throughout their transition, as it is to this day. Scotland would be starting from a much stronger base.

I would, respectfully, draw their attention to an article in the same day’s publication (page 31) where the International Scotland report, paints a rather different picture than the one they do. No one is saying that there won’t be issues with independence, but the prize for our children and grandchildren could well be a great one.

In closing, I would, again respectfully, remind them that countries such as Denmark, Ireland, Iceland, Norway and a host of others exist, and all are in a much less precarious state than the UK. Given time, there is no reason why Scotland could not likewise be a much better, fairer, and more equal country. That, I suspect, is what they really fear.

Ron Campbell. Richmond Walk, Aberdeen.

Independence vote poses a ‘democratic deficit’ for rest of UK

Sir, – Herbert Petrie is right to say that “everyone should check the facts” (IndyRef2 mandate cannot be denied – Letters November 19).

The trouble for the separatists is that the “facts” do not support the idea that Westminster should grant Scotland a referendum.

Referendums are based on total votes for and against a proposition.

At the 2021 Holyrood elections, only 64% of the registered electorate voted. Of these, only 49% voted for parties advocating separation from the UK, indicating that only 32% of Scots engaged enough to vote, were probable Yes voters.

Furthermore, of the last 51 polls on independence, only six have shown a slight majority for Yes.

There are no facts to check on the issue of what Scotland’s status would be after separation.

These can only be determined after a long complex negotiation involving, politicians, civil servants and lawyers of both governments; a huge distraction and at considerable expense, with businesses reluctant to invest amid the uncertainty.

The Brexit experience demonstrates that years after the vote there are still negotiations ongoing, and we still do not know the true extent of the resultant damage or possible benefits.

The UK Government has a responsibility to the entire UK population and together with Holyrood has more urgent problems to deal with than at any time in our recent history.

To allow less than 3% of the total UK electorate to inflict such damage on the rest would indeed be a democratic deficit that the SNP often refer to.

Let’s hope that when the Supreme Court publishes its ruling on the referendum, the legality supports the practicality, and the decision remains reserved to Westminster.

If not, then Mr Petrie’s observation that we will only know our true wealth once independent, may ultimately prove correct.

But having spent years concentrating on separation rather than addressing the immediate problems, we will almost certainly be worse off than we are now.

Mark Openshaw. Earlswells Road, Cults, Aberdeen.

Green billions for cruelest regimes

Sir, – As was widely expected a face-saving deal was done at COP27 to create a $1 trillion “loss and damage” fund for compensating poor nations that are victims of extreme weather worsened by rich countries’ carbon pollution.

This is in addition to the $100 billion a year climate fund. These amounts will be paid by developed countries. Some of the countries to get a slice of the $1 trillion and $100 billion are the most cruel, corrupt and dangerous regimes on Earth.

India, China and Pakistan have mega-expensive space programmes.

Since the Industrial Revolution entire nations have been lifted out of poverty and global life expectancy has risen from 29 in 1800 to 71 today.

Britain has nothing to be ashamed of but UK taxpayers will be burdened with the horrific cost of this loss and damage fund.

Clark Cross. Springfield Road, Linlithgow.